December 31, 2012 § Leave a comment
This year past:
I faced death. The illness of a child. Weeks without exercise, regular showers, or time for myself. Weeks and months of worry and watching my baby. The overwhelm of a sick baby, four other kids and my own emotional fallout. The realisation that I can’t do it all. The bitter pill of having to give up things I loved, give up any idea of my ‘normal’ life, give up some freedom.
But I also:
Found the immense strength within. Immense, bottomless strength. And power. Found ways to nourish myself in extreme circumstances. Felt angels wings fold around me. Experienced healing. Experienced the strength and support of my husband, and my community. Learnt how to begin putting my needs first. Joyously welcomed a new baby into our family. Felt gratitude, for all my blessings. Cracked open, like an egg, into love.
Everything is balanced, and perfect, in the end.
Best Wishes for 2013.
December 30, 2012 § 1 Comment
Some of these projects, like the dolls, were begun in 2011 but finished this year. Dolls are a long term project for me. I think I did ok considering I had a baby this year and was in hospital on and off for six weeks with him.
It was not possible to sew or do anything except read whilst in hospital. His illness was such that initially I was too distressed and sleep deprived to do anything but cry. Then it took literally all day to take care of Robin – changing a nappy took up to ten minutes, in tiny, smooth movements. The slightest jerk would set off a coughing fit, so Robin was literally handled like a precious glass egg.
I still have things to debrief about in regards to that time – every post seems to end up in that place! I read something this morning that has stayed with me: that the best remedy for overwhelming or overflowing emotions is art…. to create. I swear it was a message just for me.
So my artistic goal for next year: to just keep going.
December 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
I’ve lost my equilibrium.
It was there, for a brief while; I was clutching on to it the way one holds a box of air. That is to say that of course it was an illusion. The very definition of balance implies a state of non-balance.
Soon after I began this blog I hit my stride. No other work, kids at school and commitments dropped, giving me lots of time to think. Feel. Be. I just about managed to put myself first for a little while and it was good. I got lots of sleep and that was even better. I think half my problems disappeared just by going to bed early.
Then the last week of school hit – presents for teachers, class plays, graduations and me returning to lead the final day of Playgroup. I managed it all, managed somewhat easily even. And oh how I loved being back at Playgroup.
But then it was only one week until Christmas. That was ok, as my shopping was done, and the menu organised…..
Since Robin was born we have had two little return visitors to our bed – Lily and Zara. It was fun for a while, and they obviously benefited from the closeness with us. But their sleep times became later and later. They would be jumping on the bed during the day, my bed, and the room was no longer the quiet and calm parents/baby retreat. Finally, a week before Christmas, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I moved them into their own room. Which had an unrealised flow on effect of having to re-organise every room in the house!
With the Christmas Day deadline looming (we had family coming to ours) my nights became later. Christmas was great, two days of family celebrations both fun and exhausting. It was just a lot of work this year, with the house re-arranging and hosting and all.
Now I’m tired, exhausted even, and low. Managing two meals a day, managing a broken eight hours sleep because Robin is suddenly restless and hungry at night. And feeling overwhelmed. I’d promised myself not to create that situation anymore, and then promptly gone and done it.
So tonight, to bed before ten pm. Tomorrow, to the park with kids for some exercise. Three meals, vitamins. Hopefully some good sleep. Hopefully a way back to balance.
December 19, 2012 § Leave a comment
A good friend visited me recently, to be an ear for my grief and provide suggestions for healing. One of her ideas was to make a heart, and to cut it to how I felt Then, to stitch it together again, one stitch a day. When the heart is complete, I am complete, the griefs of this year healed.
I’ve cut the heart, I’ve made one stitch. I’ve begun the healing…. but it has stayed this way for a while now. I’ve noticed that somewhere deep inside is some resistance to being whole and healed, to moving on with life.
Who would I be without the grief of Robin’s illness, the grief of feeling I was absent for Zara’s babyhood, the grief for the baby who died?
I don’t know, and I am scared, but I want to put down the burden.
I’m willing to heal, that is enough for now.
When my first child was still a baby, I used to think a lot about the kind of mother I would be, the kind of family I wanted to create. I would try to imagine my boy as a teenager, and it seemed so far into the future and so removed from my reality that it scared me a little. All I knew was that I wanted to stay connected to my children, throughout their teenage turbulence and beyond.
Now he is a teenager, and just last week graduated from his primary years at school. At the ceremony, photos were shown from class 1 (age 6) up till now (age 13). They reminded me of those yearnings I used to have. I felt so much joy watching my boy standing on stage, and a profound sense of achievement that we made it this far… to this point, this age that used to frighten me with it’s bad reputation.
Since he has been born, we’ve moved house more than ten times, we’ve homeschooled and moved states and lived in a tent. He began at this school, and then returned. He thinks I am a hippy and is determined to be anything but that. He seems to know who he is very strongly; he can be very strong, or stubborn. But he loves to tell me about his interests, for me to watch his trampoline tricks. We love to watch movies together, to play cards.
I often feel I am stumbling about in the dark, as a mother of a teenager. I tell him we will make all our parenting mistakes with him, being the eldest. But seeing him complete a 3-week trip to NZ with his class, and seeing him confident and happy with his peers… it gives me hope, a glimpse of the bigger picture where children turn into young adults who are capable and happy. (Did I have anything to do with that? It just seems to have happened!).
I feel so much love for him this week- so much so that sick or absent babies are forgotten, and there is a knowing that mistakes can be put right. And that I can heal.
December 11, 2012 § 1 Comment
This past week:
The busyness and joy of our school’s Open Day, with all the children’s glorious work on display. I’m so thankful for the creative, inspired school that we attend. I say ‘we’ because I get as much nourishment from the school community as do my children from its classrooms.
It’s the final week of school for this year. William: finishing 7 years with his teacher and about to step into the unknown that is teenage-hood and high school. Samuel: right in the heart of childhood at nine years old, so engaged and eager. Lily: embracing her evolution from the early childhood years into full time school next year. I will not miss her (I tell myself).
The boxes full of amazing drawings, models etc…. come home, the final class performances are completed to applause, and goodbyes are said. I managed gifts for the teachers this year, nourishing biscotti, little heart cards and decorations. Sometimes I feel a little self-conscious in giving, but the goodies were joyfully received.
I lead the final Playgroup of the year this Friday, not knowing if I will ever lead one again. It’s been uncomfortable standing at the crossroads, but gradually I am coming back into the moment, this moment, this week. The future will present itself in perfect time.
I attend a sacred Women’s Circle most weeks. Today was the final meeting for this year, and a Thanksgiving of sorts. This year has been a time of intense highs and crushing lows. I feel I am finally walking into the strengthening sunshine, after quite a time in the fearsome darkness. I’m just so thankful that Robin is here. I’m so thankful for my children and the way they just break me open, to love. Whatever the funny, tricky, deep dance that relationships are, I’m thankful for the journey that my husband and I decided to take, together.
After this week finishes, bring on the sunshine! I’m ready for the beach.
December 5, 2012 § Leave a comment
This past week has thrown up many moments that take me back to when Robin was in hospital….
Driving, and a song comes on. A song that was played many times a day when Robin was in hospital. A song I used to hear almost every time I was driving to, or from hospital. A song that I would cry to, or sing to as a way to be not in the reality of a sick baby.
Having a bath, and Zara hops in. Zara, who was only two when Robin was sick, and who missed me terribly. I would come home for a few hours every second day and have a bath – for myself, to wash off the hospital, and for Zara. I could pour so much love and care into her in the bath – brushing her hair and cuddling skin to skin.
Sorting clothes and I come across the suit Robin wore when he first got sick. A suit he ended up wearing for two weeks straight because we couldn’t change his clothes. He had a drip attached to his hand, swaddled with bandages and a splint, with his little thumb sticking out. Four other probes covered his chest and foot, all attached to an incessantly beeping machine. It meant we were limited to a two metre square area with him, for a month.
I often wonder if I am too sensitive, that these innocent things bring on such a rush of grief within me. The thing about hospital is not so much the lack of freedom, awful food, or pot-luck of nurses, though those things are hard. It is the feelings that were there. The absolute terror I felt within myself, constantly, for days. The constant adrenaline rushes. The responsibility of being Robin’s advocate as well as his mother, hurting because he hurt and still so much a part of me.
I know I was the strong one, but I so often felt like the weak one.